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Erie II (PG-50)

(PG-50: dp. 2,000; l. 328'6"; b. 41'3"; dr. 14'10"; s. 20 k.; cpl. 243; a. 4 6"; cl. Ontario)

One of the Great Lakes between the United States and Canada; counties in New York and Ohio; cities or towns in Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, and Pennsylvania.


The second Erie (PG-50) was launched 29 January 1936 by New York Navy Yard; sponsored by Mrs. Edmund A. Knoll; and commissioned 1 July 1936, Commander E. W. Hanson in command.

During her shakedown cruise, for which she sailed from New York 31 October 1936, Erie had temporary duty with Squadron 40-T, a group organized to protect Americans and their interests during the Spanish Civil War. She visited a number of European ports, and evacuated refugees from the northern coast of Spain to San Juan de Luz. She returned by way of the Azores to New York City 30 December 1936.

From 5 May 1937 to 25 October 1937, Erie sailed primarily out of Annapolis, carrying midshipmen on afternoon training cruises during academic months and on an east coast cruise in June, July, and August. After overhaul, she arrived at Balboa, C.Z., 3 February 1938 to serve as flagship of the Special Service Squadron operating along the coasts of Central and South America, training with submarines, conducting exercises, and later on neutrality patrol and serving as guard ship for the Panama Canal.

Through the first half-year of World War II, Erie was based at Balboa, on the Pacific side of the Canal Zone, patrolling regularly along the Central American coast and to the Galapagos Islands. On 9 June 1942, she arrived at Cristobal on the Atlantic side, her new base. On 10 June, patrolling out of Cristobal, she rescued 46 survivors of torpedoed SS Fort Good Hope, and 6 days later, took 25 survivors of SS Lebore from a lifeboat, and 28 more from St. Andrew's Island. She escorted convoys to Yucatan Channel and Guantanamo Bay, and on 28 September cleared Coco Solo to guard the passage of a convoy to Trinidad.

Erie got underway from Port-of-Spain 10 November for Guantanamo Bay, and when 2 days out of Curacao, was torpedoed. Raging fires, worsened by the rupture of tanks of oil and gasoline, exploded the charges for her 6" guns; abandon ship was ordered after the fires got out of control. Seven men were killed, and 11 wounded. Survivors were taken from the water by a Netherlands ship, HMNS Van Kinsbergen. Four days later, firefighters with advanced equipment boarded Erie, and next day they were augmented by specialists brought down from Norfolk. The fires were extinguished and Erie was brought in to Willemstadt Harbor for repairs. Before they could be completed, she began to take on a starboard list, and when counterflooded, capsized to port, sinking on 5 December 1942.

Published: Wed Jul 08 08:06:49 EDT 2015